If you haven’t experienced the fabulous Glam Jam with Lady Imelda and CJ, then you’re missing a treat. We caught up with ladies just after their second anniversary celebrations at Halfway II Heaven to tell us more…
Glam Jam has been going two years now; it doesn’t seem like five minutes ago since you started! For those who haven’t seen your shows yet, what can they expect?
It’s great that there are still people who haven’t heard of us or haven’t seen us – it means we’re not over-exposed like that Carol Vorderman off the telly. Glam Jam’s unconventional, outrageous, surreal and flamboyant concept is often described as “a breath of fresh air” on the cabaret scene. The show begs to be unique, yet performance is simple, straightforward, honest and, above all, glamorous! Glam Jam is unpredictable; it evolves from what inspires the artistes and the audience on the night. The content varies from musical theatre, jazz, swing, blues, gospel, pop and soul, as well as other musical forms, styles and genres.
Can you share with us your favourite memory from Glam Jam’s run?
This story is surely a tribute to our loyal stalkers, who love our honest entertainment, and fiercely defend us to anyone who tries to get in the way… At a previous West End residency, we had reached the closing number of the show; as our final note faded into the sound of rapturous applause, a lady perched at the bar and screamed, “STOP! This is shit!”. We and the audience froze as she repeated her new catchphrase. Before we could retort, the audience started hurling abuse at this woman, who eventually left in tears to a rapturous round of applause! One of the best insults came from one of our German stalkers: “You should leave now, because your hair has really bad roots showing!” ]
It certainly sounds eventful! So, who have been your favourite special guests and why?
Our most famous guest must certainly be Daniel Dae Kim (better known as Jin-Soo Kwon in Lost), who came to one of our first residencies in the West End; he heard about our show whilst he was working in The King & I at the Albert Hall, and asked if he could star in one of our shows. Who were we to refuse?! Round about the same time, Matt Lucas also made a brief appearance, too. We continue to be surprised by who walks through our doors; in the four weeks, we’ve had principal cast members from no less than three current West End musicals performing with us!
What’s the creative process you go through when coming up with ideas for the show?
We both have considerably diverse and eclectic musical tastes and backgrounds, which allow us to interpret material in a way that is unique to us; often, a song is written with a specific singer in mind, which often makes it difficult for someone else to interpret it. If the melody is strong and the lyrics are honest, then we can usually “murder” it in true Glam Jam fashion! We are constantly inspired by songs old and new – thank you, YouTube – and by our audience. The concept is organic and nothing is slavishly rehearsed, which allows us to be flexible according to what inspires us on the night. It can be disappointing for a performer when something they have rehearsed ad nauseam falls on its backside!
Halfway II Heaven has been a real cabaret force lately – what is it about the venue that you love?
Quite a few things, actually! We like the fact that the setting is intimate, yet large enough to be comfortable for everyone. The sound system is one of the better ones we’ve come across in our travels; some venues’ systems are appalling, which can make any performer’s job really difficult. The management team have also been incredibly supportive of us; what was meant to be a six-week trial has turned into a weekly residency! Whilst the venue provides a base for our regular stream of stalkers, it also attracts a lot of passing trade; people popping in for a quick drink hear our music wafting up the stairs, pop their heads around the door, and end up staying the whole evening!
Catch Glam Jam at Halfway II Heaven (7 Duncannon St, Charing Cross, WC2N 4JF) every Wednesday. You can also catch them every 1st and 3rd Monday at City of Quebec and every Tuesday at King Edward VI in Islington. For more information, check out their Facebook group: “Glam Jam, A Musical Revue”
AND THERE’S MORE…
Glam Jam isn’t the only slice of cabaret deliciousness that Halfway II Heaven has to offer. These glamorous ladies also have residencies…